Golden Hat-trick: Kanchenjunga, Bulbul Can Sing and Ratnakar
It was indeed a pleasant surprise to watch a golden hat-trick of Assamese movies back to back in less than 2 months, produced by three eminent and exceptionally talented producers/directors namely – Zubeen Garg, Rima Das and Jatin Bora.
It was also heartening to see the crowds flock out to the cinema halls to see these movies which signal a revival and re-birth of the presently sick, but ever glorious Assamese film industry.
Zubeen Garg’s Kanchenjunga was the first step in this positive direction. It is a well-known fact that Zubeen has immense popularity, acceptability and mass branding amongst all strata of people in our state. Zubeen’s popularity, the quality of his movie, his aggressive marketing campaigns and his personal Midas touch, all contributed in making this movie a super hit in terms of gross collections at the box office.
The main theme of his movie was a protest against the system of reservations in government jobs and the related corruption in such hiring processes. The protagonist, Anirban (played by Zubeen himself) was a victim of the infamous APSC appointment scams, which was recently in the hotspot. The movie also depicted the perils of land mafias in our state and the unholy nexus between politicians, criminals and the government machineries. The reign of terror unleashed by the land mafias has been vividly shown in the movie. The hero, a victim of such unfortunate circumstances, takes up a crusade in an unconventional way, supported by a small handful of friends and some amount of occult back-up in an effort to clean up the system and wash the dirty linen in public.
Cinematography by Suman Dowerah is mesmerising and the soundtrack composed by the maestro himself is enchanting. Super performances by Zubeen Garg, Sasanka Samir, Pabitra Rabha, Dhrittiman Phukan and the whole cast makes the plot very interesting and fascinating to watch. This movie is a much more matured, better executed plot in comparison to the earlier creation of Zubeen Garg - Mission China.
Some more serious R&D on the APSC scam with details of the modus operandi of the unfair processes adopted would have been interesting in the context of the theme of the movie. Nevertheless, Kanchenjunga is indeed a great cinematic effort from the young living legend.
The next dish on our plate was the movie Bulbul Can Sing. It is written, directed and produced by the young talented filmmaker Rima Das, who is globally acclaimed as an upcoming, promising film creator of substance. The pains of an independent minded girl growing up in a primarily male-dominated society, the sorrow of a gay boy who is constantly ridiculed by his companions, the evils of moral policing, the blatant misuse of media power at times and the irrational codes of conduct and discipline, enforced in educational institutions in the backdrop of rural Assam has been clearly shown in the movie, with all its simplicity. The remarkable aspect of this movie is its purity, the greenery of the locations, the natural and raw acting of the characters and a real picture is presented in front of the audience who can easily relate to the sequence of the events that follow.
The growth of young children with their innocence through the rather tricky path of adolescence has been depicted very well in the movie. The movie shows how one bad evening and some forced circumstances can create havoc and turn innocent laughter of children into a lifetime of sorrow.
However, against this background of gloom and disaster, there is still a ray of hope and optimism which echoes the sentiment that Bulbul can sing. The audience were left spellbound and left the theatre halls with the conviction that Bulbul will sing.
That is the remarkable accomplishment of Rima Das, who has also done much better than her first venture Village Rockstars. Barring a few out of range shots, the film had hardly any such glitches. The music on Datora by Kabindra Patuwary and the excellent acting of Arnali Das, Manabendra, Pakiza, Manoranjan Das and the whole cast was a treat to watch.
The icing on the cake was the release of Ratnakar. Produced and directed by Jatin Bora, who has made an entry into celluloid after 13 long years of absence, this movie was worth watching and we all felt that Assamese movies have now finally come of age.
Ratnakar played by Jatin Bora himself, is the story of a goon who earns his livelihood by doing criminal acts for the benefit of his master. However, there is a Robin Hood dimension to his personality as he spends his money on spreading love and care to the uncared and deserted parents and senior citizens in an age-old home. His effort to come clean after meeting his love interest, played by Barasha Rani Bishaya, his transformation to being a good man comes with a lot of hiccups and challenges thrown at him by life, circumstances and his old crime gangs.
The music by Zubeen Garg is very refreshing and some of the song sequences really appear out of the world and too fascinating. Action scenes have been very well executed in the movie. However, the hero Jatin Bora himself and Nishita Goswami at times appear to carry a little more weight than pleasant to watch out in some romantic scenes.
The movie has a lot of punch lines, action sequences and the narration is so fast that it leaves the audience spellbound.
The future augurs very well for Assamese movies and the end of 2019 is really significant in throwing three marvellous releases to viewers of Assam who have been craving for quality films for quite some time. We hope this will be a turning point in our destiny and more and more quality movies will be dished out to us in the coming future.